It might not seem like it yet, but the holiday shopping season is well under way! Between Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday, people are researching brands and keeping a close eye out for deals being announced so they’re ready to pounce as soon as promotions go live. For ecommerce brands, it can be tricky to stand out in crowded markets, especially with this year’s growing focus on online shopping. The easiest way to give yourself that extra step ahead of your competitors? Think about how you can create a memorable experience that engages customers before, during, and after Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.
Before BFCM Weekend
Create valuable, interesting content
While people are looking for good deals, they’re also looking for good brands. And by that we mean brands that care about more than just getting a sale out of someone. If all you do in the run-up to BFCM weekend is post about how deep a discount you’re offering, that’s what people will think of when they think about your brand. Not the quality of your products, or what makes your brand worth investing in. All they’ll remember is the percentage discount you offered!
So how do you combat this? Create interesting content. Here are a few ideas:
Gift Guides are great because they allow you to put your products into context for potential customers. For example if you sell camera bags and accessories, you can write a guide such as “Must-have camera accessories for amateur photographers”. Guides are good for customers who are researching either for themselves or for holiday gifting for a loved one and they maybe aren’t sure what to buy.
As you’re preparing for BFCM, share the prep work with your followers! Share snippets of new stock coming in, packaging, organization, developing new content etc. to build up some excitement and anticipation for BFCM. You can do these as candid as you like; platforms like Instagram and TikTok allow for a lot of creativity in this area from little daily snapshots on Instagram Stories to more put-together, fun videos on TikTok and Instagram Reels.
One of your biggest assets in building trust with potential customers is feedback from existing customers. The build up to BFCM is the perfect time to be sharing customer reviews, and this can be done in a more interesting way than just posting their review. Share their story by including photos of the products they bought, even better if the photos come from the reviewer. User-generated content (UGC) is also extremely valuable, so instead of sharing a review you can just share all those great photos customers have snapped of your products.
Make your offer fun and exciting for people
Over the course of Black Friday/Cyber Monday, people are bombarded with discount codes and offers and promotions. This can be quite overwhelming and a lot of the content around it is very dry and sales focused. To cut through the noise, why not make some of your offers fun and exciting?
Exclusive offers for loyal customers
You’ve likely already figured out your main promotions for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, but a good idea is to offer something exclusive to your existing customers. This gives them something a bit more exciting to look forward to, and you get to take advantage of the fact that existing customers are more likely to make a repeat purchase.
Giveaways and contests
Everyone loves a giveaway, right? Add a bit of fun into your BFCM by including a couple of giveaways and contests around the same time as your promotions are due to go live. These could be on social media only and across email marketing. You don’t need to offer a huge prize to get people talking, and these work as great pieces of shareable content to get a buzz going about your brand and products. Bonus points if entrants have to provide an email address - encourage them to do this with the promise of a bonus offer or discount for BFCM and then you can retarget them later on.
Offer a “buy one, get one” deal - with a twist
BOGO deals are always popular with customers – but let’s take it one step further. Instead of treating yourself to a second item, why not recommend the customer give it to a friend or family member? Given the current landscape with the coronavirus pandemic, you could even offer a “Buy One, Give One to a Frontline Worker” deal. This entices customers to give back while shopping for themselves.
Deliver brilliant customer service
You can have the most exciting offers and deepest discounts available, but if your customer service isn’t up to scratch people will shop elsewhere. The best way to deal with customer enquiries is to be fully prepared for a variety of situations with responses and actions ready to go. People are keen to snap up deals as quickly as possible, so they expect brands to be able to respond fast so they don’t miss out. Here are some tips for how to deliver the best customer service with as little disruption to you and your customer as possible:
Make it easy, quick, and clear for your customers where and how they should contact customer service.
Have some automatic responses set up for your social media accounts telling people where to find your FAQ, the quickest way to get a response, and what your current lead time is on responses.
Create a customer service troubleshooting guide for any staff who will be dealing with customer enquiries with common issues, how they should be resolved, and how they should be escalated.
- If you don’t have employees specifically for customer service, then create a customer service schedule for your team - assign team members to monitor the platforms you’ll be handling enquiries over to ensure nothing slips through the net.
Engage customers from the moment they land on your site, to long after they receive their order
There’s always a lot of emphasis on acquiring customers and getting that all-important conversion, but you need to make sure that you cover their entire experience from start to finish. Once they’ve placed an order, follow up with plenty of communication about their order. If you’re expecting any delays in processing order due to the volume of orders over BFCM, communicate this in your order confirmation emails.
Once the order has shipped, get customers into an email workflow that will focus on their satisfaction. Send emails once the order has arrived thanking them for their order, then again some time after that checking in with them.
Weeks later, you can send an email asking for feedback and review, again thanking them for their order. You can continue to engage customers with content tailored to them based on the products they ordered with complementary product recommendations, new product details, any upcoming promotions etc.
You can continue this well into the New Year, sending an email wishing them a happy new year and thanking them again for their support. This builds a genuine relationship with your customers, showing them that you care about their ongoing satisfaction with your brand.
Think about order presentation
How are your orders shipped to your customers? What do they see when they open the package? How an order is presented to a customer gives them an impression of your brand, so if you make it memorable and interesting for them then that sets you apart from your competitors who maybe don’t make as much of an effort. Here are some small changes you can make to your packaging that make a big impact:
- Branded boxes/packages - include your logo and branding on some premium outer packaging.
- Tissue paper and filling - coloured tissue paper, interesting filler, custom printed paper, etc.
- Thank you note - handwritten or printed on premium stock.
- Educational materials for the products in the box - notes about product care, storage, etc.
Even if the order isn’t for the customer and bought as a gift, it still helps to give them a “wow” moment when they open the box so they know they’ve bought from a good brand!
Keep engaging customers throughout the holiday season
Your engagement with your customers shouldn’t just end once you send out all those BFCM orders. Once BFCM is over, you’ve then got a very valuable asset - interested and engaged potential customers. You should have a list of both customers who bought something over BFCM weekend, and a list of potential customers who browsed your site, abandoned a cart, signed up to your mailing list, etc. You can utilize all of these audiences to continue pushing your brand throughout the holiday season right up to New Year sales and beyond. Continue to engage these audiences in meaningful ways.
Follow up with these customers for reviews and feedback, as well as giving them “exclusive” content like sneak peeks on new products you’re introducing for the holidays, any upcoming flash sales, and also sending product recommendations based on their previous purchases.
Potential Customers - Site browsing
Send content to these potential customers with recommendations based on their browsing history on your store. You can also send gift guides to give them a bit more inspiration, popular products, and also some brand education.
Potential Customers - Abandoned Cart
The obvious route to go with these customers is abandoned cart workflows, however if they abandoned their cart during Black Friday when you had offers on then there’s a little bit more legwork to do after the weekend when you haven’t got a promotion running. Send them through a slightly adapted workflow - offer them a smaller discount than your BFCM promotions to incentivize that purchase. They may have forgotten to check out and will welcome the opportunity to snap up a deal! The rest of that workflow can be complementary products to their cart, gift guides based on popular products, etc.